"Shocking News" was just the bait. A more accurate title would have been "news about shocks" but I knew I had to set the hook before any attempt of reeling you in.
You know, I really like my Ultra. It has a lot of features, handles two up riding pretty well and has decent torque. The one thing I don't like is that its a whale of a bike. It handles fine rolling down the road but when I have to stop or do some parking lot maneuvers I feel a bit uneasy. I figure its only a matter of time before I lose my footing and tip the dang thing over. If that happens I'm not sure how easily I could right the machine. Not because I'm a total puss but because since my back surgery a lift like this would leave me suffering for a week.
My options include cutting the seat, buying big heeled boots or making changes to the suspension. I did buy new boots and they did help a bit but I'd need KISS boots
to really make a difference. I still like their music but the costumes really are out of fashion.
Cutting the seat isn't an option either. Its an aftermarket heated seat and there's no way I'm hacking away at it with a carving knife.
That leaves the suspension. There are a lot of manufacturers offering a 1" lowering kit for the stock rear shocks. That would certainly help but I think I want more. I like the idea of slamming the ass to the ground so I can easily mount/dismount and duck walk the bike.
I could have ordered individual parts from different manufacturers but decided to go with a kit from Dirtyworks LLC. The kit I bought consists of a pair of air shocks, compressor, air tank, valving and associated hoses, switches and wiring. The kit was complete except for whatever protective wire loom I decide to add after the install. Their customer service appears to be good as they were quick to answer questions before the purchase and quick to respond when I had an issue with a switch that was giving me grief.
The compressor is mounted on the right side of the bike between the wheel and saddlebag.
The "fast up" air tank is mounted on the left side. This tank allows the bike to be raised in a little over a second, opposed to the long wait for just the compressor alone to pump up the shocks.
I guess I could have zoomed in on this pic a bit but I've mounted a relay, the lift solenoid and the dump solenoid behind the side cover. The all fit quite nicely.
So how does it work? The ride is great, when there's air in the shocks
. My wife and I both agree the ride is much smoother but I had a leak in the system and all the air would sneak out and then if we hit a bump it was a major ouch. I don't know how those guys ride hard tails without blowing out their backs. For me, it was nice to be able to dump a bunch of air as I rolled into town or a parking lot and confidently put a leg down at stops. More testing is required and I have a plan in place to add an air gauge so I can air up or down to preset pressures depending on what type of riding I'll be doing.
If this looks like something that may interest you, I should warn you that this is a kit. Not every piece has a set install location. You need to make some of these decisions on your own. All the pieces are there, you just need to decide how to best install them on your bike. I did order the special brackets for my bike to mount the air tank and compressor. They mount very solid on the lower fender strut but that's a problem if you have "filler" lights on the back of the bike. I removed the lights for now but I'll have to come up with a solution for the mounts.